Study documents acid rain’s impact

Though the destructive effect of acid rain on forest health has gained general acceptance, there has not been clear documentation of the phenomenon. That changed recently with the publication of the October issue of the prestigious international journal BioScience, which featured a cover story detailing UVM researchers’ breakthrough work on the relationship between acid rain and Vermont’s red spruce forests.

The article and the study are the work of Donald DeHayes, interim dean of the School of Natural Resources, and his colleagues Gary Hawley, George Strimbeck, and Paul Schaberg.

Red spruce forests have declined at high elevations throughout much of the northeastern United States. The UVM researchers’ article describes in step-by-step fashion the sequence of physiological events that ultimately leads to impaired health and mortality for the trees. Specifically, they found that direct acid deposits on foliage displace calcium associated with cell membranes, destabilizing the cells and making the trees susceptible to damage by environmental stresses. For red spruce, the primary stressor is low temperature, and enhanced freezing injury of foliage is the dominant expression of acid rain-induced damage.

Former patient’s gift supports cancer research

In 1992, Scott Ireland met Dr. David Krag under difficult circumstances as the UVM professor of surgery treated Ireland’s malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Ireland came out of treatment a healthy man and gained great respect for Krag and his research. “Dave’s just an incredible doctor,” Ireland says. “He can take the most complicated medical terminology and make you understand it.”

Now cancer-free, Ireland says the experience of getting to know Krag led him and his family to find a way to support cancer research to “find a cure or at least better treatments.” With that as their goal, Ireland’s family, proprietors of S.D. Ireland Concrete and Construction of Burlington, recently announced a $2 million gift to fund cancer research at UVM. The gift — and the decision to speak publicly about personal experience with skin cancer — is also meant to call attention to a cancer that is still often misunderstood.

“People don’t realize how deadly skin cancer is,” says Kimberly Ireland, Scott’s wife. “Sometimes when people find out that Scott had skin cancer they say, ‘At least you can’t die from it.’ They need to know that you can die from it.”

In fact, 7,300 people die from melanoma in the U.S. each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. While early detection and advanced treatments have kept the death rate from climbing in recent years, melanoma cases are increasing at a rate that outpaces any other cancer.

Krag is best known for his research on an experimental procedure he developed to allow a simple biopsy to replace the extensive surgery often needed to check the spread of cancer in the lymph nodes. The procedure, known as “sentinel node biopsy,” was included in Scott Ireland’s first round of treatment and is increasingly being used for skin cancer.

“I view this gift as an investment that will pay off in many ways,” says Krag. “It frees me up to focus more on research, which means I’ll be able to move the work along and attract even more support as we go. Also, the gift ensures that there will be an individual at UVM focused on the problem of cancer forever — or at least as long as there is a university and as long as cancer is a problem.”

UVM, Vermont mourn Sumner Williams

The UVM community and the Vermont sugar maple industry lost a valued friend and colleague with the death of Sumner Williams in October. Williams, research field technician in botany and assistant director of the Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill, was killed in an accident on Oct. 11 at the center.

By all accounts, Williams had a passion for his work, and he believed in spreading the word. Larry Myott, extension assistant professor, said, “Sumner put his heart and soul into the maple industry and not just in Vermont.” A speaker at international, regional, and state conferences on the maple industry, Williams was known and respected all over the world. In 1999, the Vermont Maple Industry Council named Williams Maple Person of the Year.

“Sumner was a builder,” said Tim Perkins, interim director of the Proctor Maple Research Center. “He built things, and he built relationships with people. He took great care and was equally skilled at both. And what he built you knew would be strong.”

New VP to lead development, alumni relations

Jennifer McDonough joins the university in January as the new vice president for development and alumni relations. She brings to UVM nearly twenty years of experience in fund raising and other aspects of development and not-for-profit work, most recently as a managing associate at Bentz Whaley Flessner, a national consulting firm in Minneapolis offering comprehensive advancement services for non-profit clients.

“While Jennifer McDonough has been quite successful as a development professional in a variety of settings, higher education is her true passion,” said UVM President Judith Ramaley. “She understands the importance of development work, not only as a fundraising tool but as an instrument of change, as well as a form of service to the institution’s core constituents.”

McDonough was the director of development for the School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1988 to 1991, director of development at St. Bonaventure University from 1986 to 1988, and worked in prospect research and campaign management at Canisius College in Buffalo from 1982 to 1986.

She also has experience working in other environments, including the Natural Heritage Trust/Artpark in Lewiston, N.Y., the Indiana Department of Public Instruction, the U.S. Department of Education, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“The University of Vermont is clearly poised to embrace an exciting and progressive agenda,” McDonough said. “This agenda, coupled with a rich tradition of public service, a broad range of curricular options, and leadership committed to innovation, is why I chose to join this university. I look forward to the opportunity of becoming part of the team at UVM and am confident that the vision and plans being developed will constitute a powerful and compelling rationale for increased private support.”

Ecosystem lab dedicated

The dedication of a new building that will house work focused on environmental health highlighted activities during October’s Homecoming and Family Weekend at UVM. On Burlington’s waterfront, the Stephen and Beverly Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory will be a center for research focused on the impacts of human activities on physical, chemical, and biological processes in the greater Lake Champlain Basin ecosystem. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the sources, transport, transformation, and biological implications of pollutants that move from the land to the lake.

The $5.25 million project was made possible by private contributions of $4.05 million and public grants totaling $1.2 million. The building is named for Stephen and Beverly Rubenstein, who donated $1 million toward the lab. Stephen Rubenstein ’61 is a longtime supporter of the work of UVM’s School of Natural Resources.

Fittingly, this structure dedicated to protecting Lake Champlain’s future illustrates the lake’s rich natural history. Running up the east exterior wall and wrapping to the northeast corner is a depiction of the Champlain Thrust Fault, a world-famous geological feature that runs from Barre to the lake. The different layers of rock are represented by corresponding colors of brick. And gray brick and rock layers on the building’s northwest corner represent the lake’s water levels from its beginnings as a sea to the present day.

Gift supports coaches’ pay

UVM’s Athletic Department recently received an important boost in funding for coaches’ salaries on the strength of a $1 million gift commitment from Charles Zabriskie Jr. ’53. A student-athlete who participated on the track and field, cross-country, and rifle teams during his days at the university, Zabriskie has been a strong supporter of UVM athletics. In 1996, a gift from him and his wife, Star, established a scholarship fund for student-athletes. His service to the university also has included the role of president of UVM’s ROTC Alumni Association for the past five years.

“To me there are few things more important in the world than teaching the values learned on the university’s playing fields,” Zabriskie said. “My goal is to provide the athletic director with the flexibility to address the sometimes dramatic market discrepancies that exist in the high-profile programs and to reward the university’s most outstanding coaches. This will help UVM to recruit and retain the best possible leaders in our most visible programs while at the same time providing incentives and rewards for excellence in coaching at all levels throughout the department.”

“Intercollegiate athletics at UVM is an integral part of our campus community and benefits us all,” President Judith Ramaley said. “We are grateful to Charlie Zabriskie for his consistent support and encouragement, and his ability to help us enhance the experience of our student-athletes.”

A resident of Wellesley Hills, Mass., Zabriskie’s career has focused on executive recruiting for the banking, energy, and high-technology industries. He is also regarded as one of the nation’s leading authorities on acquisitions, mergers, and the disposition of businesses. Now retired, Zabriskie is still involved with consulting work.

Frymoyers Create Fund for Medical Education

UVM health science students and faculty will have more opportunities to learn from leading practitioners of patient care thanks to the new John W. and Nan P. Frymoyer Fund for Medical Education — and to the generosity of longtime Frymoyer friends Warren and Lois McClure.

The fund was announced at an October 30 dinner in Burlington, which celebrated the Frymoyers’ thirty-five-year contribution to the Vermont medical community. The Frymoyer Fund will provide doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals with the financial support necessary to allow them to devote time to projects that teach ways to improve the relationship at the heart of patient care — that of clinician and patient. The endowment will fund ten to fifteen Frymoyer Scholars each year.

The Frymoyers have provided the initial support to the fund with a significant current gift and an additional bequest in their estate. The fund also begins with a robust challenge gift from Vermonters Lois and Warren “Mac” McClure. Well- known for their strong record of community-based philanthropy, the McClures have challenged the university to secure gift commitments for the fund totaling $2 million by December 30, 2000. When this goal is achieved, the McClures will contribute $1 million to the fund.

Dr. John Frymoyer has practiced medicine in Vermont since 1964. He was interim dean of the College of Medicine from 1991 to 1993, and has been dean since 1993. In February 1999, Dr. Frymoyer announced his retirement, effective December 31, 1999. Nan Frymoyer has spent years as a nurse and public health professional in Vermont, most recently as the founder of the Community Health Resource Center at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

Fleming premieres exhibit by Nobel winning author Günter Grass

On February 8, the Fleming Museum will open an exhibition of drawings, watercolors, lithographs, etchings, and etching plates by the German author Günter Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999. This is the premiere of the exhibit, which will tour to a number of universities around the country after closing at UVM on June 4.

Considered Germany’s greatest living writer, Grass also created visual art. He enrolled in the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, and later studied in West Berlin at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. After the war, Grass worked on farms, in a potash mine, as a stonemason’s apprentice, a sculptor, and a writer. His first novel, The Tin Drum, was published in 1959.

The work to be featured at UVM includes several cycles of prints related to Grass’s books The Tin Drum, The Flounder, The Rat, Father’s Day, and A Broad Field. While the content of the work is closely associated with Grass’s written themes, the author created it to give form to his images through a visual medium, rather than to illustrate his novels. This body of work was acquired from the writer by the late German collector Peter Ludwig in 1996, and is now in the permanent collection of the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Germany.

Funding for this exhibition has been received from The Ludwig Foundation for Arts and International Understanding, and from the Goethe Institute, Boston.

Future Alumni
Jake Allegrini-UVM Rescue

Jake Allegrini, a senior political science major from Norwell, Mass., puts the dedication of UVM Rescue in perspective when he says, “someone has been in this room continuously for the past twelve years.” The room is the rescue headquarters on East Avenue and Allegrini is one of the current rescue squad members, the latest generation in a nearly thirty-year (365 days a year) tradition of service.

While there has always been a dispatcher at home in the cozy cinderblock rooms that feel like a college dorm crossed with a fire station, UVM Rescue volunteers have distinguished themselves on the streets and roads of Chittenden County, where they are often first on the scene at emergencies. They are the first response unit for UVM and the city of South Burlington and are primary back-up for a number of other local communities. On average, UVM Rescue responds to more than 1,600 ambulance calls a year.

Alisa Leib, a senior anthropology major from Essex, Vt., took a “First Responder” course taught by UVM Rescue as a first-year student. Her initial ambitions were nothing more than to learn CPR, but she soon was hooked and worked to become a licensed Emergency Medical Technician. “The really interesting thing about rescue for me is how much I’ve learned about people,” says Leib.

Allegrini, one of rescue’s drivers and a student pilot who hopes to fly for an airline someday, agrees with Leib. “I’ve learned so much about how people react in different and often difficult situations,” he says. That applies not only to those they care for, but also to their fellow team members. There are currently about twenty students volunteering with UVM Rescue, some putting in nearly forty hours a week on duty.

On a recent routine call, rescue meets a New York State Police Lifeflight helicopter on the asphalt pad just outside their headquarters to transport a patient the short drive to Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Medical Center. The camaraderie of the unit is clear as they work with the New York nurses and the Fletcher Allen staff as colleagues.

Among those at Fletcher Allen is Karen Lamb, a registered nurse, a 1997 UVM graduate, and a former member of UVM Rescue. Lamb, like other alumni, still comes back to fill gaps as a volunteer. She says, “Working with UVM Rescue was the best experience of my life.”

Mary Anne and Richard Gucciardi Fitness and Recreation Center opens

Busy with the work of building strong minds, UVM students received a wonderful gift to help them build strong bodies as well with the fall semester’s opening of the Mary Anne and Richard Gucciardi Fitness and Recreation Center.

The two-story addition on the south side of Gutterson Fieldhouse is anchored by a 6,000-square-foot fitness area which includes a wide array of cardiovascular and strength training equipment. The glass-walled facility offers impressive Green Mountain views as well. There is also an aerobics studio and a 30-foot climbing wall ascending to a skylight. In addition, the fieldhouse has been renovated to include two running tracks and three multi-purpose courts.

“The facility has been jam-packed, and it has exceeded everything we could have hoped for,” said Gregg Bates, director of recreational sports. “There is plenty of equipment for everyone, and the students have been thrilled. Everyone loves the view, and they love the fact that they don’t have to wait for equipment.”

UVM Trustee Richard Tarrant, president of IDX Systems Corp. of South Burlington and the parent of three former UVM student athletes, donated $1.5 million to help build the center. Much of the new fitness equipment was purchased through a $200,000 grant from the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation.

Tarrant urged the university to name the center for the Gucciardis, longtime supporters of UVM athletics. Mary Anne Gucciardi, currently head of the Catamount Club, is famous to UVM basketball players as “Mama Gooch,” creator of legendary Italian dinners.

Hazing Allegations Focus On Hockey Team

As Vermont Quarterly went to press, UVM and the men’s hockey program were in a swirl of controversy triggered by a former player’s lawsuit alleging that other players on the team pressured him to engage in degrading behavior which constituted hazing. Defendants named in the suit include The University of Vermont, Coach Mike Gilligan, President Judith Ramaley, team captain Kevin Karlander, and assistant captains Matt Sanders and Andreas Moborg. The suit was filed by Corey LaTulippe, a first-year goalie from Williston who was encouraged to try out for the team as a walk-on, but was cut from the squad in October.

LaTullippe contends in the suit that he was subjected to persistent threats which constituted hazing and that when his attorney brought the attention to the university no significant action was taken.

In a statement released to the media, Trustee Chair Frank Bolden said: “The University of Vermont views the allegations with respect to men’s hockey very seriously. The initial allegations were thoroughly investigated and actions were taken within existing UVM rules and procedures. As required by federal privacy laws, UVM cannot release specific information about findings, violations, and sanctions, but as we have indicated, disciplinary action was taken.”

As of Dec. 21 additional steps taken by UVM on the matter included:

The university has invited the Vermont Attorney General to conduct a review as he deems appropriate, and he has agreed to do so.

President Ramaley has appointed an internal committee chaired by Professor Lynn Bond to review the policies, practices, and decisions with respect to misconduct in intercollegiate athletics. This committee will involve faculty and other university citizens, and will submit recommendations to the president by February 28, 2000.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dean Batt will seek national expertise to advise the university on developing more effective anti-hazing programs and responses to hazing.

President Judith Ramaley echoes Bolden’s statement about the seriousness of the allegations and further states: “Our educational philosophy at UVM has always been one of applying disciplinary sanctions as part of a learning process, and in a way that will change behavior. Public humiliation is not part of that goal.

“However this particular situation is finally resolved, UVM remains deeply concerned about the issue of hazing. Such negative behavior is widespread among intercollegiate athletic programs nationally. Such behavior is in conflict with the moral fiber of this institution and will not be tolerated. We are examining our current policies and efforts and, if necessary will implement more effective strategies to confront and eliminate hazing at UVM.”

According to Ramaley, if the university’s review, or that of the Vermont Attorney General, discovers any shortcomings in our handling of this situation, UVM will take actions commensurate with the findings. “This has been a painful situation for all of us,” says Ramaley, “and it is especially important to me that people not lose sight of the quality of our student athletes at UVM. Our young student athletes excel in their chosen sport, while succeeding academically and, in many cases, devoting themselves to community service. I don’t want their image tarnished by this incident.”